Monday, March 16, 2020

4563 How to Work From Home

We’ve all been told to avoid gatherings with a gross population above one.  So working at home is a good alternative to such things as not working at all. (I may re-think that.)

In the event you are one of those confined to your house, apartment or cell here are some tips.

First, you must isolate yourself from housemates, spouses, children, random strangers, police without warrants.

Second, turn off the TV set.  Off. Not down, off. Sean Hannity, Rachel Maddow and Anderson Cooper can live without you for the time being.

Third, keep regular hours.  Make your own shift if you can, and stick to what you made.

Fourth: Do not work in your jammies.  You don’t have to dress up.  But you should be at least in Business Casual.  It changes your attitude and keeps you focused.

Fifth: Carve out a special time for the Honey-do list.  Or ignore it as usual.  But don’t honey-do on company time.

Now, you must be properly equipped.  Proper equipment includes but is not limited to:

--A computer or keyboard-equipped tablet.
--A cellphone.  And keep it in the charger.  You never know when Con Ed will start working from home, leaving you without electricity.
--A coffeemaker and any of the stuff you put into your coffee.  And remember, it’s not Starbucks, it’s your home office.  So limit those add ons to milk and sugar.

--A well equipped bar.  As Hemingway once said, write drunk, edit sober.  Well equipped does not necessarily mean overstocked. Just your regular stuff, the stuff you wish you had in the office.  And moderation until the end of your workday, please.

--An ashtray.  Yes, if it’s your place and you smoke, you don’t have to hide under your building’s awning or on the sidewalk in the snow and rain… at least for the duration of your exile.

Do not mix home work with homework.  Do not pay your bills, catch up on your sleep, catch up on your twitter feed, catch up on your portfolio performance or fix that damn window that always sticks on company time, even if you do some of this while on company property.

Do the things you know you should be doing at the office:  

--moderate stretching or exercise.

Some do’s and don’ts:

--throw out the trash at the end of the day.  You probably dropped something into it by rote, can’t find it now; will find it later in the wastebasket.
--let your desk get into the shape of the one in the picture up top.
--answer calls from friends or relatives during business hours -- and remember, YOU’VE set your hours.
--Put in unpaid overtime. You’ll be surprised at how much more efficient and organized you’ve become now that you don’t have the distractions of office life.
--Watch your mouth. You can use the foulest language you know as long as there’s no one else to hear it.

--Take calls from your boss.
--Take calls from coworkers whose work depends on you or whose work you depend on.
--Keep the TV you turned off, off. (Ok, you may watch “Andrea Mitchell Reports” at noon if that’s when you have lunch.)
--Keep a log. Eventually, you’ll have to return to the office. Expect questions about what you had done at home. Have answers ready. Showing or reading the log will beat sitting in the boss’ office, squirming, red-faced and starting your report by saying “Uh, um, well I…”

Some people will find this a pleasant change. Some will find it frustrating.  But it may help you not get sick by breathing the same air you’re forced to on the train or subway or bus or taxi. Or at the office.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ® 
Any questions?  Send ‘em to
© WJR 2020

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